Bladderwort in the valley

16 July 2018

The valley is home to many different plants some of which are nationally scarce. One of these is Bladderwort, a carniverous plant which only occurs in slow-moving ditches or ponds. The drainage ditches that run through the flood meadows and reedbeds are an ideal habitat and some of them have healthy populations of Bladderwort.

For most of the year the plant is totally submerged, but it has no roots so it has to get its nutrients some other way. To this end it has tiny (~5mm) bladders that it empties of water causing a partial vacuum inside. Near the opening are tiny hairs that act as triggers and when something touches them the bladder snaps open, dragging in water and any small insect or fish that is near enough and then it snaps shut again, all within about a hundredth of a second. The plant then digests its prey and the process starts all over again.

Flowering is irregular; some years it doesn’t flower, but when it does yellow, snap-dragon like flowers appear on tall, usually red, stems. The flowering season is June to August and there is quite a lot about at the moment.

Footpaths - 1 January

The valley is still flooded and all paths across the lower part of the valley are impassable, as is most of the path along the river.

Report overgrown rights of way to East Sussex and other paths to the Friends of Combe Valley.

Latest News


December 2023 saw a group of Waxwings visiting the Park to sample the berries. Several hundred visit Britain each winter.

New on this website

August 2023 - a set of new pages describing some of the more common flowering plants has been added to the "Wildlife" section of the site.